Men's soccer splits SUNYAC weekend

The men's soccer team competed in its first SUNYAC series of the season over the weekend, advancing its overall record to 4-3-1 and its SUNYAC record to 1-1-0.

The Knights traveled to SUNY Potsdam on Friday, defeating the Bears 2-1. On Saturday, the men dropped a 0-3 decision to host SUNY Plattsburgh.

Friday's match commenced with a quick goal from Potsdam in the opening minutes as senior Jon Reeves finished a corner kick from freshman Alex Minsker at 5 minutes, 52 seconds. The Knights, however, answered just 11 minutes later with junior Matt Solimano assisting junior Ian Mort, who tallied his fifth goal of the season.

Head coach Mike Mooney said that Geneseo "had the better part of the play after [Mort's] goal," retaining possession and creating several opportunities for goal. Nevertheless, the score remained tied at the half.

Mooney told the men at halftime that they had "started off too slow" and needed to "get more dangerous balls in the box." The Knights responded well to this advice and dominated possession in the second half. Still, the men had difficulty completing a play.

"We were knocking on their doorstep, but couldn't finish," said Mooney. The Knights seemed to be anticipating extra time until senior Ben Ariola knocked in a loose ball in the 89th minute. Senior Mike Madarasz contributed a second half shutout in goal, and the Knights clinched the win.

"It's hard to play teams that aren't as technical," Mooney said, adding that Geneseo had to adjust accordingly to pull out the win. The coach also noted that though he was "pleased with the result," his team still needs to improve its consistency.

On Saturday, the Knights traveled to face their long-awaited rival Plattsburgh. Geneseo came out aggressively in the first half, outshooting the opponents 9-6. The men lost steam in the concluding minutes of the half, though, and sophomore Matt Hamilton headed in a rebound in the 42nd minute to put Plattsburgh up 1-0 at halftime.

The Knights failed to match the intensity of their opponent in the second half. Senior Chris Taylor scored off a free kick in the 54th minute to advance his team's lead to 2-0. Mooney noted that Plattsburgh "took wind out of our sail at this point."

The Knights continued to struggle throughout the half, and Hamilton scored his second goal of the game in the 81st minute off a pass from junior Pat Shaughnessy to cap the match at 3-0. Madarasz made two saves in 76 minutes of play, and junior Sam Murphy matched that number in his 14 minutes of playing time.

"A lot of times, the first goal determines the game," said Mooney. He admitted that his team did not play to its potential throughout the match. "[Plattsburgh] outplayed us, and we didn't make our opportunities dangerous enough," he said.

As the team continues conference play, Mooney looks for more capitalization of goal-scoring opportunities. The Knights look to improve their SUNYAC record in the coming week, hosting SUNY Oneonta on Friday and SUNY New Paltz on Saturday.